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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Eclat

En Concert

Review by G. W. Hill

Hailing from France, this prog rock outfit does music a bit in the styles of UK, Genesis and others with a definite fusion tilt to it. The guitar on this album really steals the show in many places. Eclat is Alain Chiarazzo, Michel Isnard, Phillipe Troïsi, Thierry Massé and Fabrice Di Mondo.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: The Early Years Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Ouverture
Beginning with keys, this instrumental introductory cut has some slight Eastern textures and at times flirts with the sounds of Genesis, UK and Hawkwind. It is quite dramatic and leads straight into the next cut.
Le Chemin Vers Les Nornes
With an intriguing texture and some juicy guitar riffing, this cut is off and running. After the intro, the keys begin to dominate until the vocals enter. This one is fairly slow and dramatic prog. Some solid progressive riffing takes the piece after a time, somewhat reminiscent of Yes' "Changes". Then a Wakeman-like keyboard section brings the cut into a nice instrumental break before returning to the song proper. The cut jumps in to high gear late and includes a smoking guitar solo and some harder edged prog elements. It then shifts gear again to a brief segment that feels a bit like Survivor or Asia. This segment gives way to an energetic instrumental break with more killer guitar work.
V.I.T.R.I.A.L
Great slow paced prog tones start this tune, and serve as a back drop for some awesome piano work. This is joined by some guitar stylings that seem to call to mind both Trevor Rabin and Steve Howe. The cut shifts into high gear for a time in a dramatic, but natural shift, again a bit in the mode of Rabin era Yes ala "I'm Running". This one is another with a great guitar solo.
Runes
Dramatic keyboard tones begin this cut. The other instruments join in, playing on this theme for the remainder of the intro. Then the track drops in intensity for a short time, then screams back out for a while before dropping back down again. It alternates between these two styles. After a time, the composition drops back to a more laid back section that moves through various modes before ending the number.
Sequoia
Starting with mysterious textures, guitar begins building in a style a bit like a cross between Steve Howe, Al Dimeola and David Gilmour. This mode makes up the first 4 or so minutes of the piece. Then a piano melody takes over, moving the cut into an almost traditional jazz mode for a short time. It then shifts gear again, building into a fairly straightforward prog groove. As this movement moves forward, the number also includes some definitely inspired guitar soloing. All in all, this is a very strong progressive rock instrumental.
√Čternit√©
Enchanting piano begins the cut, then the guitar jumps in, carrying the sound in a new direction. From this point it does a major turn, becoming a fast paced and hard edged prog rocker. The song then drops down to just percussion and sedate keys and begins building from there in a slow and tasteful mode.
Circus
Playful circus/Russian sounding lines begin this cut. After this intro, it drops to a segment a bit reminiscent of Rush's "Xanadu". The piece begins progressing in its own directions from there as a slow tempoed prog rocker. An instrumental break grounded firmly in ethnic music ensues after a time. Then the cut moves back to the previous mode. Eventually a tasteful jazzy guitar solo erupts, followed by a great piano interlude. This section builds up from there moving back into a solid prog rock instrumental break. Next up is another guitar solo that moves the cut into a fusion oriented prog jam. After this extended jam, a brief piano solo pulls the tune into a playful circus oriented segment, then back to the main theme. A brief reprise of Circus sounds ends the track.
Sakura Sakura
Extremely brief (36 seconds), this is a Japanese melody.
Toujours Courir
Slow guitar tones start this cut, which then moves into a meandering fusion oriented mode. It then begins progressing in organic patterns, just building on its themes. This one gets very jazzy at times. This extended jam doesn't stray too far from its roots while still maintaining interesting movement and allowing all the musicians to solo. The bass solo is particularly strong.
Nostalgia
This somewhat jazzy/somewhat neo classical piano solo is a bit in the mode of both Rick Wakeman and Keith Emerson, but still maintains a style of its own. This is quite an intriguing acoustic solo.
La Machine
A high-energy prog jam with both rock and roll and jazz stylings, this instrumental really rocks. The guitar work here, again, really stands out. This one feels a bit Yesish at times, and a bit like Rush at others. It also includes some eastern stylings. This is one of the strongest tracks on the disc and a great way to end.
 
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